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Thursday, August 24, 2023





As schools across the United States open their doors for the new academic year, they are faced with a major problem: teacher shortages. And while some may see this as the big payoff for following the billionaires' playbook for privatizing schools, it's hard to ignore the fact that it's causing chaos in the education system.

Let's be honest, the billionaires' plan was pretty simple: bash the teachers, defund the colleges that teach them, defund the public schools that pay them, and put out propaganda that tech will do a better job teaching your kids. And let's not forget the role of Citizens United in all of this. Thanks a lot, Supreme Court!

But now we're left with a situation where schools are struggling to find qualified teachers, and they're having to resort to hiring under-qualified teachers and long-term substitutes. It's like trying to fix a leaky faucet with duct tape - sure, it might work for a little while, but eventually, it's going to break down completely.

The consequences of this crisis are catastrophic for some districts. Some have had to switch to four-day weeks, while others have had to shut down mid-year. It's like trying to run a marathon with a broken leg - you might make it a few steps, but eventually, you're going to collapse.

So, what caused this mess? Well, it's pretty simple: billionaires buying politicians and spewing propaganda. It's like a bad game of Monopoly - they bought up all the property and now they're trying to charge us rent.

But let's not dwell on the negative. Instead, let's focus on some of the solutions that could help fix this mess. For starters, we could increase teacher pay. After all, teachers are often paid less than other professionals with similar levels of education and experience. It's like paying your dentist less than your plumber - it just doesn't make sense.

We could also improve working conditions for teachers. This includes reducing class sizes, providing more support for teachers, and creating a more positive work environment. It's like giving your employees a raise and a pat on the back - it makes them feel valued and appreciated.

And let's not forget about increasing respect for teachers. This includes raising awareness of the importance of teachers and their work, and supporting teachers in their efforts to improve the quality of education. It's like giving your mom a hug and telling her you appreciate everything she does - it makes her feel loved and valued.

Of course, these solutions won't be easy. They'll require time, effort, and money. But if we want to fix this mess, we need to start somewhere. It's like cleaning up your room - it might be overwhelming at first, but once you start, you'll feel better about yourself.

In conclusion, the teacher shortage in the United States is no laughing matter. But sometimes, when faced with a crisis, all we can do is laugh. So let's laugh at the billionaires' plan to privatize schools, let's laugh at the politicians they bought, and let's laugh at the propaganda they spewed. And then let's get to work fixing this mess.

Teacher shortages in US: How do vacancies compare in your state? 

Teacher shortages have gotten worse. Here’s how schools are coping. - The Washington Post 

Back to School: Despite lower vacancies, Wake County has nearly 300 teacher vacancies ahead of school year 



The teacher shortage in the United States is a complex issue with many contributing factors. Some of the most common causes include:

  • * **Low pay:** Teachers are often paid less than other professionals with similar levels of education and experience. This makes it difficult to attract and retain qualified teachers, especially in high-cost areas. According to the National Education Association, the average salary for a public school teacher in the United States is \\$63,000. This is lower than the average salary for other college-educated professionals, such as lawyers and engineers.
  • * **Unfavorable working conditions:** Teachers often have to deal with large class sizes, difficult students, and paperwork. This can lead to burnout and make it difficult to attract and retain teachers. The average teacher has a class size of 24 students. This can be challenging to manage, especially for teachers who are not experienced or who do not have the support of their colleagues.
  • * **Lack of respect:** Teachers are not always respected by parents, students, or the public. This can make it difficult to attract and retain teachers who are passionate about their work. According to a 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center, only 37% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the public school system. This is down from 46% in 2018.
  • * **The COVID-19 pandemic:** The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the teacher shortage. Many teachers have left the profession due to stress, burnout, or health concerns. The pandemic has also made it more difficult to attract new teachers, as many people are hesitant to work in a school setting where there is a risk of exposure to the virus.

The teacher shortage is worst in certain states and school districts. According to a 2023 report by the Learning Policy Institute, the states with the worst teacher shortages are:

  • * Washington
  • * Arizona
  • * Hawaii
  • * Indiana
  • * District of Columbia
  • * Virginia
  • * Montana
  • * Nebraska
  • * New Mexico
  • * South Dakota
  • * Wyoming

These states are all located in the western and southwestern United States. They tend to have lower pay and less favorable working conditions than other states. They also have a higher proportion of students from low-income families, which can make teaching more challenging.

The teacher shortage is a serious problem that is having a negative impact on the quality of education in the United States. There are a number of things that can be done to address the shortage, such as increasing teacher pay, improving working conditions, and increasing respect for teachers.

Some of the specific things that can be done to address the teacher shortage include:

  • * Increasing teacher pay: This is one of the most important things that can be done to attract and retain qualified teachers. The federal government could provide funding to states to increase teacher pay.
  • * Improving working conditions: This includes reducing class sizes, providing more support for teachers, and creating a more positive work environment. States and school districts could make changes to their policies and practices to improve working conditions for teachers.
  • * Increasing respect for teachers: This includes raising awareness of the importance of teachers and their work, and supporting teachers in their efforts to improve the quality of education. Parents, students, and the public can all play a role in increasing respect for teachers.

The teacher shortage is a complex issue, but it is one that can be addressed. By taking steps to increase teacher pay, improve working conditions, and increase respect for teachers, we can make the teaching profession more attractive and ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education.


Schools opening with teacher shortages, where it is worse, and what caused it.

Schools opening with teacher shortages

As the 2023-2024 school year ramps up, schools districts across the country are confronted with yet another year of staff shortages. From four-day school weeks, expanded teacher certificate programs to recruiting custodians and lunchroom workers, schools are finding creative short-term solutions to address the ongoing crisis².

The demand-supply ratio has been skewed for several years - but the pandemic has been especially hard. Teachers had to figure out new tools to keep students engaged during online learning and deal with an increased workload. Many teachers also cited low pay, overbearing bureaucracy and lack of respect as reasons for their unhappiness[^10^].

According to the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) School Pulse Panel, 42% of all principals said that teachers and staff leaving the profession became a "more pressing concern" during the last school year. Trends in staff shortages are even worse for schools with large numbers of minority students. About four in 10 schools with more than 75% minority populations have multiple teaching vacancies, according to NCES².

Where is it worse?

The teacher shortages vary by region and subject area, but some states have more severe teacher shortages than others. These include: California, Nevada, Washington, Washington D.C., Indiana and Arizona⁹. These states have some of the lowest teacher-to-student ratios across the nation, according to Scholaroo —an education research firm. Their 2023 report shows these western states fall in the bottom 25% of teacher shortages².

Nevada has one of the smallest teacher-to-student ratio with approximately 44 teachers available per 1,000 students enrolled in the state. That's one teacher for every 23 students². In contrast, Vermont has the highest ratio with about 97 teachers per 1,000 students, or one teacher for every 10 students².

Some states are also facing more acute shortages in certain subject areas, such as physical and special education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For example, Virginia had more than 3,500 full-time teacher vacancies for the 2022-2023 school year, with about half of them in special education, elementary education and middle education².

What caused it?

The teacher shortage is a complex and multifaceted problem that has no simple solution. However, some of the factors that have contributed to it are:

  • - Low wages: Teachers earn about 20% less than other college graduates with similar experience and education levels, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). This wage gap has grown over time and varies by state. For example, in Arizona, teachers earn about 36% less than their peers in other professions¹³.
  • - Reduced interest among young people: Fewer college students are choosing to major in education or pursue teaching careers. According to a report by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), enrollments in teacher preparation programs declined by more than one-third between 2010 and 2018. The number of bachelor's degrees awarded in education also dropped by 22% during the same period¹¹.
  • - High cost of student debt: Many teachers have to take on significant student debt to finance their education and certification requirements. According to a survey by NEA Today, nearly half of new teachers reported having more than $25,000 in student debt. This debt burden can make it harder for teachers to afford living expenses, save for retirement or buy a home¹³.
  • - Lack of support: Teachers often face challenging working conditions, such as large class sizes, inadequate resources, high-stakes testing and lack of autonomy. They also report feeling isolated, overwhelmed and undervalued by administrators, parents and policymakers. According to a survey by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), about one-third of teachers who left the profession cited dissatisfaction with their working conditions as a major reason¹³.
  • - Health and safety concerns: The pandemic has added new health and safety risks for teachers and their families. Many teachers have expressed concerns about contracting or spreading COVID-19 in schools, especially with the emergence of new variants and low vaccination rates among children. Some teachers have also faced harassment or threats from parents or community members over mask mandates or curriculum issues¹².

Bing, 8/24/2023

  • (1) 2023 teacher shortages: What to know about vacancies in your region..
  • (2) How Covid deepened America's teacher shortages - BBC News.
  • (3) States with the worst teacher shortages in the US | Teach Away.
  • (4) The Teacher Shortage Is Real and about to Get Much Worse. Here's Why.
  • (5) What's behind the teacher shortage in US schools? -
  • (6) Why is there a teacher shortage? Schools struggled nationwide in 2022.
  • (7) Teacher shortages have gotten worse. Here’s how schools are coping..
  • (8) 2023 teacher shortages: What to know about vacancies in the South.
  • (9) Teacher shortages have gotten worse. Here’s how schools are coping ....
  • (10) Teacher shortages in US: How do vacancies compare in your state?.
  • (11) From ‘crisis’ to ‘catastrophe,’ schools scramble once again to find ....
  • (12) Plagued by Teacher Shortages, Some States Turn to Fast-Track Credentialing.
  • (13) Most of the US is dealing with a teaching shortage, but the data isn't ....